LSU Health gets $15M for cancer programs

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health $15 million over five years for its cancer education, early detection, comprehensive control and registry programs.

The funding will support the Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health and Comprehensive Cancer Control programs, as well as the Louisiana Tumor Registry.

The Breast and Cervical Health Program offers no-cost mammograms and pap smear tests to low-income, uninsured or underinsured women across the state.

The program has a counterpart in every other state and U.S. territory. The one run out of LSU Health, however, is the only such program housed at an academic institution and has been singled out by the CDC as one of the best-run programs of its kind, officials said.

The Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is charged with developing, building and providing technical assistance for partnerships and coalitions working to improve health in communities. It focuses on preventable cancers and two of cancer’s major risk factors: tobacco and obesity.

Money from the grant will also help fund the Louisiana Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a consortium of health experts, insurers, legislators and others working on policies to improve cancer screening rates in the state.

The Louisiana Tumor Registry at the School of Public Health, a statewide registry, collects detailed information about cancer patients, their treatments and outcomes to help guide policies for cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and survivorship.

These programs also benefit from state matching funds. The Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program receives about $700,000, while the Louisiana Tumor Registry receives about $230,000.

UNO grad leaves $600K to go to scholarships

A $600,000 bequest from University of New Orleans alumna Margaret Boudreaux Soniat will benefit student scholarships at her alma mater.

Soniat, who died in 2013, earned two degrees from the university. The gift has prompted UNO to announce that it has a new goal to raise $5 million by the end of 2017.

"The scholarships created by her gift will give deserving students the opportunity to accomplish their academic goals and become part of her enduring legacy for future generations," said President John Nicklow. "Her gift has encouraged the university to set its sights higher as we seek to make a University of New Orleans education available to even more qualified students."

Soniat graduated from the UNO College of Business Administration with a bachelor’s degree in 1967 and an MBA in 1971.

She also made gifts to the Norton Nelkin Philosophy Scholarship and the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Scholarship Fund, officials said.

Soniat, a resident of New Orleans, retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she was a budget analyst.

Loyola to offer new food studies program

The Loyola University College of Arts and Sciences has announced a new interdisciplinary food studies program. Beginning this fall, Loyola students can pursue a major in food studies designed around food policy, commerce and culture.

Food studies programs have been on the rise for the last two decades at American colleges and universities. Loyola’s will be the first undergraduate food studies major in Louisiana.

The program combines interdisciplinary courses with classes from history, sociology, the natural sciences, environmental studies and other fields. The aim is to teach students about the complex web of relationships that bring food to the plate.

Students will examine the systems that govern food production, distribution and consumption. They will also explore the culture of food through a variety of cultural approaches.

In keeping with Jesuit values of social justice and respect for the world, students in the Loyola food studies program will consider issues of hunger, abundance and food distribution and will explore access to food as an urgent justice issue, officials said.

The students will have opportunities to learn from New Orleans-based nonprofit and industry leaders, building on Loyola’s relationships with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Edible Schoolyard, Capstone Community Gardens, Hollygrove Market and Farm, Whole Foods Market, Dooky Chase Restaurant and others.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.